ICCO poll of agency chiefs in 19 countries points to expansion during 2011

PR agency bosses across the globe are optimistic that they will see growth in the consultancy sector during 2011.

Attracting attention: Qatar [pic: Rex]
Attracting attention: Qatar [pic: Rex]

ICCO (International Communications Consultancy Organisation) polled consultancy CEOs and board directors in 19 countries for its inaugural quarterly Trends Barometer survey.

Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they expected the PR industry to grow in 2011 compared with 2010.

The remaining 17 per cent expected to see stable revenues; with no respondents believing their business would shrink this year.

Sally Costerton, chair of EMEA at Hill & Knowlton, said the positive results reflected an increase in demand from emerging markets. She said: 'In emerging markets, we are seeing a continued client focus on market expansion. This looks like being a very significant year in the Arab world and I am sure this will drive further demand for comms services.'

James Gordon-MacIntosh, managing partner at Seventy Seven PR, pointed to a strong showing for consumer PR: 'Over the past two years, the consumer market has remained buoyant and there are no signs of that trend abating.

'This has been driven by brands increasing their spend on PR and a growing appreciation of what media relations and social media can achieve against other marketing channels.'

Meanwhile, Jennie Talman, co-founder of Just Health PR, said the healthcare sector was poised for further growth: 'We are predicting a similar year to 2010, with steady growth.

'While healthcare PR is more resilient than other PR sectors in tough times, the pharmaceutical industry is still looking to be leaner and smarter.'

The news comes days after the Publicis Groupe, parent company of MSL, reported a net income of EUR526m during 2010, a rise of more than 30 per cent compared with 2009.

On 17 February, PR agency MHP announced its fee revenues for 2010 were £16.8m - marking a rise from £16.1m in 2009.

Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of MHP, said: 'We are seeing increasing strength in digital strategy development and execution.

'This is increasingly corporate, as well as consumer, focused.

Crisis planning and issues management, and public affairs, are all showing strong growth.'


See Danny Rogers' opinion on the global opportunity for growth



Sally Costerton, Chair, EMEA, Hill & Knowlton

Some growth is likely, albeit from a lower base. Clients and agencies have adjusted their focus to a 'new normal' of flat to limited growth in the more mature markets of Northern and Western Europe - a big part of which is a switch to digital.

Scott Wilson, CEO, Cohn & Wolfe

Clients continue to want economies of scale, with a capability from agencies to operate across markets and alongside other marketing disciplines. My hope for 2011 is that more clients demand an improved level of creativity, insight and delivery from an agency sector that has long needed to up its game.


86% of respondents expected growth in energy and environment industries
54% expected growth in the health and wellbeing industries
50% expected growth in the internet and telecoms industries
46% expected growth in the food and nutrition industries
Source: ICCO Q1 Trends Barometer survey

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